The Apprenticeship Levy and why retailers and food manufacturers must embrace Apprenticeships more

Debbie Gardiner (pictured),CEO of Qube Learning, explains why “Apprenticeship Reforms" commenced on the 1st May, which changed the way that Apprenticeships are funded and delivered using new Apprenticeship Standards and in turn, has changed how employers are recruiting.

The Reforms mean that large employers with an annual payroll over £3m started paying a 0.5% Apprenticeship Levy from April and registered on The Apprenticeship Service (TAS). Smaller employers now make a 10% contribution to the price of the Apprenticeship, whilst the government fund the remaining 90%. Additionally, there is a £1000 employer incentive for starting an Apprentice aged 16-18 and micro employers also benefit from 100% funding for their 16-18-year-old Apprentices.

In March and April of 2017, Apprenticeship recruitment was at an all-time high as employers and training providers took advantage of the old funding model. Because of the spike in new Apprenticeship enrolments, this naturally resulted in a significant reduction in vacancies in May and June. The number of vacancies is expected to increase again as employers work through their systems and procedure for recruitment, and anecdotal feedback suggests things will pick up in September. 

Apprenticeships are an all age programme that can be delivered to new entrants to work as well as developing and upskilling existing employees. In the retail and food sector, Apprentices can be beneficial and can have a direct impact on some of the key issues that affect the industry. Qube Learning’s customers report improved productivity and customer satisfaction, increased sales profitability, customer loyalty, and reputation.

Staff retention is important within all industries but particularly within food and drink. High levels of staff turnover are costly, can damage the brand reputation and above all reduce productivity. Our customers who run Apprenticeships report a reduction in staff turnover, as they help to improve staff retention due to more investment in Training and Development. There is also more focus on promotion and management development within the company, which provides the opportunity for career progresImage removed.sion for employees.

When opening new jobs and staff recruitment, a food retailer or manufacturer, that runs an Apprenticeship programme, will be seen as a more attractive and secure place to work than one that doesn’t; the programme will also help aid the company to become an employer of choice.

Particularly within the food retail industries, there is stiff competition and customers demand high-quality customer service, good stock control, value for money, good hygiene and an ‘experience’. Due to new Apprenticeship standards, there is an improvement in skills, behaviour and knowledge levels within the Apprenticeship schemes, as well as increased requirements for maths, English and ICT which in turn, drive up the quality within the sector. 

The Apprenticeship programme can be developed in collaboration with the employer to meet the specific need of the business to increase standards and consistency. The Apprenticeship brand is also recognised and seen as a mark of well valued training and development, which gives businesses at all levels a reason to feel confident.”


If you are interested in finding out more about Apprenticeships and how they can help benefit your career or your business, contact Qube Learning for more information. 


Telephone:   01235 833838